A little escapism. A little laughter. A little love.
(This originally appeared in April as a Guest Post on Lisa’s Reading. She hosts a beautiful book blog that shares book reviews for both adults and children, with a wonderful newsletter roundup that highlights giveaways and blog tours.)
It’s not often that I am at a loss for words. Perhaps that’s one of the benefits of being an author?
However, recently I was interviewed in advance of the release of my second book, Photographed in the Writer’s Room. The staff reporter, in running through a list of pre-written questions, asked me why I write… He did not ask why I wrote that particular book or what had inspired me, but just: “Why do you write?”
At first, I was stumped. I mean, I guess I thought that nearly everyone writes sometimes and the only thing that’s different for a writer is that some of us choose to publish it. But, that wasn’t quite the whole truth.
After stumbling around a bit, and muttering something about how I love telling stories, I came up with a truthful answer. What I ended up telling him was that I write because I hope that my work, my writing, will offer a carefree, lighthearted take on life. That I hope my writing provides a sweet, enjoyable interlude for anyone that reads it. I write because I genuinely want readers to feel what I feel when I read: the joy of escape, the fun of trying on someone else’s life for a little while, the freedom of letting go of myself just for a few hours and enjoying being somewhere else entirely. I don’t write because I have to, (and I certainly don’t write for the money!) I write because I want the privilege of injecting a tiny bit of fun into another reader’s life.
As you can imagine, I didn’t exactly set the world on fire with that interview. He wrote the article, and he did his best to make me sound like a serious author. But, I’m pretty sure “laughter and love” wasn’t exactly what he’d been digging for.
Don’t misunderstand me… I am not without dreams of becoming a wildly famous, best-selling author. I mean, I think “New York Times Bestselling Author” has a lovely ring to it. And, certainly, there are lots of fundamentally important topics that I choose to cover in my books: I adore exploring themes of ambition, insecurity, and coping with change. I love writing about women who choose to be brave, who have to figure out what really matters to them, who aren’t sure of their place or their goals but who try anyway. I especially love writing about all kinds of relationships – lasting friendships between wildly different people, akward relationships between co-workers, romantic relationships, complex relationships with parents and adult children, strong female friendships… all of them.
But, if I had to identify my goal in writing, especially for my Writer’s Room series, it’s really simple, and far less lofty.
I want my readers to smile, and maybe, I want them to fall a little in love.
I read this quote recently by Anne Lamott, an author that nearly everyone generally admires. (Even Ted Lasso quoted her!) I’ve heard her called the “Writer’s Writer”. She said in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.” And for me, that kind of says it all…
So, I guess, the reason I write is the same reason I read. A little escapism, a little laughter and a little love.
In love and laughter,